The USA dominated possession the entire night but lacked the finishing and creativity that produces results at the international level. This performance highlights several players that could potentially have their international careers in trouble.
Chris Wondolowski (Wondo) has scored 61 goals in the MLS over the past 3 seasons (no that's not a typo). This past season alone Wondo tied the single season goal record by scoring 27 goals in 32 games for the San Jose Earthquakes en route to winning the league MVP honors. With that being said, he has yet to find the back of the net at the international level. Wondo has been said to struggle when he doesn't have another striker up top with him, yet yesterday with Eddie Johnson up top and 2 creative guys behind him on the wings, he displayed little besides a weak long-range effort in the first half. I hate to put pressure on a goal scorer because I know goals come in bunches some times, but, dude, you can't disappear at the national stage after the year you just had at the club level. In the coaches eyes, you can't be playing any better than you are right now... and your results at the top level just aren't cutting it.
Graham Zusi- Zusi has really made strides in the past year, and last night was a chance to cement himself into a role in the MNT starting 11... especially with Landon Donovan's future in question. Zusi did not look terrible by any stretch of the imagination, but his crosses did not fall within 5 yards of anybody all night. I really do like Zusi and want to see more of him. However, especially when we have a lone striker up top, which is what Klinnsman has had a tendency to do, the crosses need to be getting to guys in the middle. We will likely have people committed forward and if the crosses aren't better, we could be at serious risk of a counter.
As for the team as a whole- 70% possession and only 4 shots on goal... that's just not acceptable. You guys followed the party line of keeping the ball, and moving it around quickly (most of the time) ...awesome! Now DO SOMETHING WITH IT! Klinnsman got his style across to you which is awesome, that's what we want to see as a fan base, but put the ball in the back of the net... or at least put it on frame! Too many shots went WAY wide, too many crosses fell no where near their mark, and too much trying to dribble past 5 guys! That doesn't work at this level boys... MLS is getting better but paraphrasing Herb Brookes from Miracle 'You can't fly by guys like that at this level' you just can't! I know Canada packed it in and put 11 behind the ball... here's a news flash, everybody in CONCACAF does that... especially on the road. If you think that teams like Panama and Jamaica are going to come out and attack you, on USA soil, you are kidding yourself. They are going to pack it in and hope to counter. Where is the creativity? If you can get somebody an open look... there's a future in qualifying for you.
Opportunity came knocking last night for a lot of guys. An opportunity to impress the boss and thrust themselves into the picture for the next year, and the truth is, many of the guys did not take advantage of the opportunity. Some guys may get a chance here or there this year because their talent or their play in a position where the team lacks depth, but some guys will not. This was their only or last chance to make their stamp... and they missed it.
Thanks for reading,
T.O. signing out